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Posted at 3:42 PM ET, 01/29/2011

Hired in Davos

By Trevor Richard Dougherty

British Council Global Changemakers is a network of young social entrepreneurs and community activists from 110 countries worldwide.

While pundits call Davos a fancy Swiss resort town that hosts a schmooze-athon for the world's biggest egos, they also comment (if they've been here) that it provides an unparalleled networking opportunity that can, at its best, lead to real progress in a political or business sense. I think they are correct on both counts. Personally, I can provide testimony to the more positive networking aspect. Yesterday, in a corridor at the World Economic Forum, I was hired by a prominent Internet entrepreneur who runs a startup company in San Francisco.

I met Loïc Le Meur, founder of the Seesmic social media company, at the "Social Networking Addiction" dinner that he moderated at a hotel here in Davos. Alongside inspiring speakers like Marissa Mayer of Google and Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn, we discussed the impact of social networks on society. I led my table in conceiving a plan for "social media etiquette," and the crowd liked it. Apparently Loïc did, too.

When I saw him in the Forum's central corridor yesterday, I thanked Mr. Le Meur for his informative dinner session and told him a bit more about my passion for new media. Somehow, the conversation moved to the fact that I was looking for work. Then our five-minute impromptu interview began. Interests, skills, past jobs, we covered it all. And when he first said it I thought he was joking: "Would you like to work for us?" When he started asking when I could move to San Francisco, I realized that he was serious. In what I have come to know as the fast-paced Davos style, we shook on it as he hurried to his next meeting.

Within 15 minutes he CC'd me on an email introducing me to his administrative staff, and tweeted this: Just hired @trevordty to help us at seesmic he's the youngest American ever to be invited in #davos

We negotiated salary, I kid you not, using Twitter's direct messaging system, and during our second and final corridor meeting Loïc recorded a YouTube video with me entitled "Trevor hired."

The World Economic Forum receives a lot of well-deserved criticism, which I will discuss later, but it also deserves its reputation as a quasi-utopian networking heaven. Thanks to a coincidental connection at the World Economic Forum, I'll be in California in no time.

Trevor has been an online activist since 2007. He is one of CNN's top citizen journalists, as about 100 of his "iReports" have been broadcast as part of the network's global news coverage. He is also a YouTube partner and the youngest person ever to have moderated the YouTube homepage as a "guest editor." A particularly empowered member of the Millennial generation, Trevor has been harnessing the Internet's power in creating social change through "viral" outreach. His videos have been viewed more than 3 million times by people in at least 100 countries. In 2008, he organized the world's largest human peace sign in upstate New York, bringing 6,000 people together largely through targeted Facebook advertising and a low-budget online video clip. He finished high school in Swaziland, affirming his belief that Internet access needs to be established as a right -- not a privilege -- for young people worldwide. Trevor will begin his tertiary education in the United States in fall 2011.

Return to the Insiders' Guide to Davos 2011 page

By Trevor Richard Dougherty  | January 29, 2011; 3:42 PM ET
Categories:  Trevor Richard Dougherty  
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